Direct electrical stimulation of the brain can alleviate symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
However, access to the brain requires invasive procedures, such as the removal of a portion of the skull or the drilling of a burr hole. Also, electrode implantation into tissue can cause inflammatory tissue responses and brain trauma, and lead to device failure.
Here, we report the development and application of a chronically implanted platinum electrode array mounted on a nitinol endovascular stent for the localized stimulation of cortical tissue from within a blood vessel.
Following percutaneous angiographic implantation of the device in sheep, we observed stimulation-induced responses of the facial muscles and limbs of the animals, similar to those evoked by electrodes implanted via invasive surgery.
Proximity of the electrode to the motor cortex, yet not its orientation, was integral to achieving reliable responses from discrete neuronal populations.
The minimally invasive endovascular surgical approach offered by the stent-mounted electrode array might enable safe and efficacious stimulation of focal regions in the brain.